November 29, 2018

Action Alert:
Tell State’s Attorney to Charge Parent who Enabled Teen’s Shooting Death

Update: Waterbury State’s Attorney Maureen Platt announced she wouldn’t file charges against gun owner Dan Markle because she had no proof he stored his handgun loaded—a loophole in Connecticut law that allows negligent gun owners to go free after such weapons are found unloaded by minors, loaded with ammunition that is also unsafely stored, and used to cause harm. After a prolonged lobbying/advocacy campaign by Ethan Song’s parents and Newtown Action Alliance, Governor Ned Lamont signed “Ethan’s Law” on June 13, 2019, closing this loophole so future prosecutions can be pursued. Thanks to everyone who participated in this campaign.

On January 31, 2018, 15 year-old Ethan Song walked to the Markle house in Guilford, Connecticut to hang out with his teenage friend. The two boys had been playing with three guns they found in the home for six months by that time. The guns were kept in a tupperware container inside a cardboard box in the master bedroom. Ammunition for the guns was also inside the container, along with keys to unlock the trigger locks “securing” the weapons.

If Daniel Markle had stored his firearms securely and responsibly, Ethan Song (above) would still be with us.

This time something went terribly wrong as the boys handled the weapons. Ethan accidentally shot himself in the head with a .357 Magnum handgun, apparently not realizing it was loaded. He was pronounced dead at the hospital shortly thereafter. Homeowner Daniel Markle’s son, who has not been identified by authorities because he is a juvenile, is now facing a charge of second-degree manslaughter for the killing of his friend.

The owner of the handgun that killed Ethan Song is Daniel Markle.  Remarkably, he has not been charged with any crime despite the obvious role his negligence played in enabling the shooting. Authorities claim this is because they can’t prove whether or not Markle personally loaded the handgun that killed Ethan Song that day.

Please contact State’s Attorney Maureen Platt through one of the channels below and give her the following message, personalized to your liking:

I am absolutely disgusted that charges have not been brought against Daniel Markle for negligently storing the firearm that killed 15 year-old Ethan Song on January 31, 2018. The explanation that charges cannot be brought under Connecticut’s Child Access Prevention law because there is no evidence to show Markle personally loaded the gun for Song is idiotic. First of all, the two juveniles had been playing with Markle’s three firearms for a period of SIX MONTHS before Ethan was killed. Second, Markle left ammo for the guns and keys to unlock their trigger locks in the same container! Finally, regarding the intent of CT legislators, how would one EVER prove a negligent parent like Markle loaded a gun used in an accidental shooting short of attaching a mini-camera to every firearm? The job of a State’s Attorney is to bring charges when negligence contributes directly to a juvenile’s death and allow grand juries to decide the facts of a case and whether or not charges are merited. If nothing else, you have the testimony of Markle’s son (who was charged with 2nd-degree manslaughter, making him a scapegoat) regarding the question of whether his father loaded the weapon. I am sick and tired of seeing these shootings happen time and time again because of the inaction of States Attorney. Bring charges against Daniel Markle and then get your butt to the state legislature to advocate for Ethan’s Law so that no future CT State’s Attorney can hide behind this “loaded” language. I will be following your actions closely. 

Waterbury Judicial District State’s Attorney Maureen Platt 
Phone: (203) 236-8130
Email: (c/o the Office of the Chief State’s Attorney in CT)

Once you’ve contacted State’s Attorney Platt, fill out the three fields below and click the orange button to report taking action!

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